Depending on the analyst, there is probably a general consensus that we are now past the worst of the down bit of the downturn. We are on the bottom but, at least at a macro level, we are experiencing a sluggish recovery. In any economic situation there are those who are doing well, those doing okay and those doing badly. Each needs a different strategy.

If you are doing well, then congratulations. Do not however take this for granted. It may well be that as the general upturn happens that businesses may decide to stop outsourcing for example. It may also be that you need to look at how to ramp up your business to take full advantage of the upturn. The key issues should be financing, or more specifically, deciding when and how much to invest into the business in order to ensure that you do not overtrade or get caught having orders but no capital to fulfil them.

If you are doing badly, then this could be the result of a number of issues that you can address. If your primary market has collapsed or disappeared all together, you need to refocus onto new market segments that will bridge your slack capacity. If your market will recover but is currently under pressure, then look for short-term, stop-gap contracts in other areas and be ready to take advantage of the sector recovery. This downturn has lasted for four years now and most companies have cut to the bone on administrative and overhead costs. The silver lining is that if you have survived this long you are probably coming out the far side.

If you are doing okay, then stop grumbling. Many of your competitors have gone to the wall and you are still in business. However, the issues above still apply.

In any case there are 2 key issues; sales and marketing (to get more business) and planning (to identify new markets, products, services, capital requirements and sources). For the last few years may businesses have not had the luxury of time-out periods to plan but in order to be in take advantage of the upturn you need to be ready. Be prepared to act and stop reacting. Refocus on your customers and where do they seem to be bringing their businesses.

If you want guidance on your planning please down load my free book, ‘How to write your own business plan’

You can also download my book on ‘Sales and negotiating skills for entrepreneurs’